By Dr. Janet Brill
Healthy Snack Attack
Do you snack on processed foods? Foods that contain a large amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars?
Instead of reaching for the candy jar, baked goods, or a bag of chips, why not prepare your own personalized popcorn? You can easily add the flavors you desire for your afternoon snack or night time comfort food.
Popcorn is a fiber-filled, low calorie, 100% whole grain food—the ultimate heart-healthy snack!
3 Ways to Pop Your Own Popcorn:
1) Lunch Brown Paper Bag
* Measure ¼ cup of popcorn kernels into a lunch size brown paper bag.
* Fold the top of the bag over 2-3 times so the kernels won’t spill out
* Place bag in the center of the microwave and cook the popcorn until you hear no more than 3 seconds between pops. (Average popping time is 2 minutes, but popping time may vary depending on your microwave)
2) Stovetop Sauce Pan/Pot
* In a 10-inch sauce pan or pot, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 kernel.
* When the 1 kernel pops, add ¼ cup of popcorn and cover the sauce pan/pot with a lid allowing a gap to release steam.
* Let all the popcorn pop and remove the sauce pan/pot from the heat.
3) Electric Popcorn Maker
* Just add popcorn kernels to the popcorn maker with or without oil.
After the popcorn is popped, add seasonings to your popcorn!
Popcorn Flavor Combinations
* Italian: dried oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro
* Cheesy: grated parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast
* Pizza: grated parmesan cheese, oregano, fennel, marjoram
* Buffalo: hot sauce, nutritional yeast
* Chili/Taco: paprika, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper
* Chocolate: unsweetened cocoa powder, stevia
* Mexican Chocolate: unsweetened chocolate powder, cinnamon, stevia, and pinch of cayenne
Or try a little more complex recipe by making your own Moose Munch by following this chocolate week’s featured recipe, Cocoa Heart Munch!
Here is a low cholesterol recipe of Cocoa Heart Munch:
Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are the heart healthy nuts, which are the perfect ingredient to add to trail mix or popcorn munch.
Yield: 12 servings: 1 serving = ½ cup
Cocoa Roasted Nuts:
* 1/2 cup of raw almonds
* 1/2 cup of raw walnuts
* 2 Tablespoons of honey
* 1.5 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup of popcorn kernels
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of dried cherries
Cocoa Roasted Nuts:
Pre-heat oven to 275 ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl, mix the nuts and honey together until the honey evenly covers the nuts. Add the cocoa powder to the nuts and mix until the nuts are covered evenly with the cocoa powder. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Roast the nuts for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
Pop popcorn by microwaving in brown paper bag, cooking in a sauce pan/pot, or using an electric popcorn maker.
Fill a small pot with 1 inch of water. Place a glass bowl on top of the pot and add chocolate chips. Put stove burner on medium heat and melt the chocolate.
Build Cocoa Heart Munch:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the popped popcorn, dried cherries, and cocoa roasted nuts, but make sure there is no space between ingredients for the popcorn to cluster together. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn with a fork. Continue to dip fork into melted chocolate and drizzle over popcorn until the melted chocolate is used. Refrigerate the baking sheet for 15 minutes until chocolate has hardened. Break up the popcorn into clusters and your Cocoa Heart Munch is ready to be served!
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calorie: 188 kcal, Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Carbohydrate: 22g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 5 mg